Astros Officially Create the Sign-and-Promote with Jon Singleton

For the last year or so, the Astros have reportedly been offering various long-term deals to some of the young players in their organization, using the carrot of guaranteed millions to try and buy out a couple of free agent years. Up until now, no one had signed the offer, and Evan Longoria remained the record holder for fewest number of days of service before signing a long-term deal. However, with first base prospect Jon Singleton, the Astros have now codified the first deal that officially includes a Major League call-up as part of the package.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, Singleton’s deal is for $10 million guaranteed over the next five seasons, beginning in 2014, with three team options that could push the total value of the deal to $35 million. By getting seven more years of team control after this season, the Astros are essentially buying one free agent year in advance — they would have owned the rest of 2014 anyway, plus six full seasons afterwards — and signing this deal now allowed Singleton to get promoted without worrying about the Super-Two deadline. Had Singleton not signed the deal, he likely would have spent several more weeks in Triple-A.

It goes without saying that this deal is a huge potential boon to the Astros. If Singleton turns out to be a quality player, he would have gone well beyond $35 million in his arbitration years and first free agent season, but if Singleton busts, they’re only out $7 or $8 million above and beyond what they would have paid by going year to year. Risking $7 or $8 million for a chance to save upwards of $30 million — let’s assume a high-quality slugging 1B would have earned ~$40 million in future arbitration earnings and another ~$25 million for his first free agent year — is a total no-brainer for a team like the Astros. There’s a reason they’ve been trying to get nearly every player with any modicum of talent to take deals like these. These deals lean very heavily towards the organization’s favor.

But for Singleton, this represents a significant guarantee. As an 8th round pick in the 2009 draft, he signed for $200,000, so he hasn’t been living in poverty as a minor leaguer, but between taxes, agent commissions, living expenses, and his admitted drug addiction, it’s safe to say that he probably doesn’t have a lot of that money left. In fact, when discussing this particular deal, we cannot ignore Singleton’s past words.

“At this point, it’s pretty evident to me that I’m a drug addict,” Singleton told The Associated Press over breakfast on a recent day near the Astros’ camp. “I don’t openly tell everyone that, but it’s pretty apparent to myself.”

First baseman Jon Singleton spent a month at a rehab facility last year to battle marijuana addiction. “He’s still young and still learning about baseball and about life,” Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said.
Vividly so.

“I know that I enjoy smoking weed, I enjoy being high, and I can’t block that out of my mind that I enjoy that,” he said. “So I have to work against that.”

On the one hand, one could argue that giving a self-admitted drug addict $10 million in guaranteed money makes this deal even more of a risk for the Astros. After all, his resources available to purchase marijuana just went way up.

But I think there’s a flip side to this coin as well. The Astros have now provided Singleton with a significant, contractually-guaranteed financial motivation to stay clean. There’s now a tangible financial cost to failing a drug test, and he can measure exactly how much those drugs would cost him if he failed a test and got suspended. Where the cost was previously abstract, pushing back his timeline to reach arbitration at some point in three or four years, it is now laid out in black and white exactly how much money Singleton will lose if he gets caught using drugs again.

As outsiders, I think this is a case where we know even less than usual about the amount of risk a player should be willing to carry in exchange for future potential gain. While players should not be lining up to take these kinds of deals, I find it hard to tell an admitted drug-addict that he should bet on himself staying clean and living up to his potential. Maybe for Singleton, having his future potential earnings spelled out in a long-term contract will be just the motivation he needs to stay clean.

In this particular case, I find it hard to suggest that Singleton sold his risk too cheaply, because we just can’t really know what his own personal risk tolerance is, or should be. Given his past, perhaps taking $10 million now really will be better for him than going year to year would have been.

The opposite could be true as well, of course. I think, in a situation like this, we lack the requisite information to suggest that there was clearly a better path for the player. In this case, if asked whether this deal was a good idea for Singleton, it feels like “I don’t know” is the only response I’m comfortable with.




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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


168 Responses to “Astros Officially Create the Sign-and-Promote with Jon Singleton”

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  1. Peter Schoenke says:

    “While players should not be lining up to take these kinds of deals”

    Why not? When you have little money, isn’t the upside of getting your first $5 million worth the tradeoff of getting $30 milllion? No one in the minors is a sure bet to get those big dollars .. injury risk and all … and if you take this deal you still get another shot at the big money. Play well and and you’re a free agent. Why wouldn’t you take this deal?

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    • other factors says:

      Ok, so if you have a chance to take 1 million dollars now or 50 million in a few years, what do you do?

      It depends on many factors, obviously. Everybody has a risk-averse to some extent. But others not. Maybe that signing bonus IS enough for him to secure his financial future in light of the 500,000+ minimum salaries.

      You can’t just make extreme statements and say, “Everybody should take these deals.” Well, no, it’s black and white. Like Mike Trout’s deal. He left a lot of money on the table and it could be argued that his personal limit for risk is high enough that he’s willing to make it through pre-arb until arbitration, when 10 million+ a year IS enough to retire on.

      And if the guy has endorsements he may already have a great nest egg built up.

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      • other factors says:

        It’s *not* black and white.Shades of gray with everything.

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        • Johnston says:

          “A man who will see gray once will see gray all the time. A man who sees gray will never see black, nor white either, even when they are there.”

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      • Cool Lester Smooth says:

        Endorsements? no minor league baseball player has endorsements.

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      • Anon21 says:

        Not even Bryce Harper, Ruth Reincarnate and Savior Of Mankind?

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        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          Before he debuted? I really don’t think he did (although I may be wrong).

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      • Not an MBA says:

        Whether minor league players should or should not take “these kinds of deals” is about the risk premium and discount rates. That’s basically what you’re saying and I agree, but we also have to consider the declining marginal benefit of each additional salary dollar.

        Personally, I agree with Schoenke that there’s no reasonable risk premium or discount rate that could justify not taking such a deal–presuming it’s realistic. And it very well could be that some of these deals are not realistic. Your example of $1 million now vs. $50 million in a few years is not realistic, since a) this only considers the discount rate, not the risk premium (which some people admittedly factor into the discount rate, but beta is its own term in the RROI equation) and b) the difference really isn’t ever that large. If we’re talking about annualized returns, no player who could be worth $50 million for one year would be offered a deal that would pay them an average salary of $1 million time-adjusted dollars for that year. Think of how high the bust rate is in baseball. The bottom line here is that the player and the club ought to be able to come to an agreement because the player ought to be more risk averse than the club.

        But the players should also accept the deal due to the decreasing marginal utility of consumption. That is, the difference between making $1 million and $10 million per year is a lot closer to the difference between making $10 million per year and $100 million per year than simple math would indicate. What’s the difference between a 3000 acre and a 15000 acre ranch? Between owning your own jet and always flying direct on a luxury charter? That’s why Mike Trout shouldn’t give a shit whether he makes $25 or $35 million dollars per year during his late arb and option years.

        Of course, some players value benchmarks like being the highest paid player in the game or really think that they can earn record-setting amounts of money. From the standpoint of positive economics, I guess I can’t judge those players’ stated preferences and their projections of their own value may be valid. But I would make the normative judgement that they shouldn’t value being the highest paid player in the game and that they shouldn’t bet on being an outlier.

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        • Not an MBA says:

          Just saw this already pointed out much further down the comments list…much more expeditiously.

          Long-winded post cancel.

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        • RogerClemensNeedle says:

          Can I just say, its nice to see somebody post with true economics and perspective. Baseball fans think they know economics and they dont. Bravo sir.

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        • a eskpert says:

          Diminishing marginal utility of income holds less in cases where utility is derived from the welfare of others. Greater earnings can be greater donations.

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      • El Duderino says:

        Because $50 million is an absolute guarantee! Or, dude could struggle, perhaps in Singleton’s specific case, get suspended again, and end up a DFA candidate because arbitration is too expensive for a player who hasn’t done much.

        When you’re talking about enough money to essentially retire in your 20’s, why gamble on making more when if you still do well, you can still make absolute bank and never have to worry about money again.

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  2. zellin says:

    It’s probably inevitable that the marijuana addiction story will follow him everywhere for a while but that is a very tenuous connection to make. In his admission, which showed remarkable candor, financial problems were not mentioned. Marijuana is hardly more expensive than tobacco and the chemical nature of the drug makes it difficult to consume it in the quantity you’d need to make a dent in a signing bonus like that…

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    • Afroman says:

      If it does cause him financial problems, I’ll right a song about it.

      And maybe give him 10% of the royalties.

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    • Anon21 says:

      A $200,000 signing bonus just isn’t a large amount of money. I mean, sure, in the grand scheme of things, for playing a children’s game, but… $200k plus the paltry minor-league salary for 4-5 years, he probably wouldn’t be living high on the hog even if he only blew a couple thousand bucks (total, over 4-5 years) on pot.

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      • B/T: L/R says:

        He wouldn’t be living high on the hog if he blew $0 on pot.

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        • PG says:

          If he were truly an addict he would just by some Hydroponic equipment and grow himself an endless supply.

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        • Baltar says:

          Sorry, PG. Law enforcement has heat-detection equipment and current law, though unsettled, leans toward approving its use without a warrant.
          Unless he lives in a state where MJ has been legalized, he has a legal risk.
          And the risk of losing his $millions more than offsets the pleasure of all he can smoke until his career is over.

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        • Twm says:

          Baltar: how so? Kyllo is exactly on point here, and prohibits warrantless thermal imaging searches. Have there been developments at the Supreme Court level that might erode Kyllo’s it as precedent? I am unaware but hardly abreast of the law.

          That said, electricity providers have been known to monitor for energy spikes and report conspicuous usage to law enforcement, though I believe there might be workaround so for this, but, again, I am hardly abreast on the topic.

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        • flipsithflop says:

          they have these brand new inventions called led lights(they have been around for years) that use almost no electricity compared to traditional high pressure sodium lights and put off less of a heat signature than your television or refrigerator…that being said law enforcement isn’t going to spend tons of money to fight something that is slowly being legalized in one form or another in a large amount of the states in the union. Also he isn’t addicted to pot …not possible he just likes to smoke. and more power to him if this is the carrot he needs to better his and his families life hopefully he can stop smoking in the interim between full legalization and the league having to change their policy because you cannot keep it a banned substance if it is legal to posses and consume like alcohol .

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        • Sorry No says:

          Really no one has made the “trade him to Seattle or Colorado” joke yet?

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      • larry bowa says:

        It really would not be difficult to smoke through $15,000+ of pot in 5 years. Even buying in quantity and not just buying $40 1/8s, though to be fair no one who really likes weed buys 1/8s.

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        • Cheech says:

          Whoa man. I buy 8ths. And I really like weed.

          A good buddy of mine was drafted by the twins. While in the New York Penn league he was roommates with and became good friends with a pitcher who made it. I won’t name him, but after he made it about 5 years later the twins came to Oakland for a series. We all hung out on two of the nights and smoked out heavy. This pitcher gave my buddy this drink powder that supposedly cleaned your system in 15 mins. Told him not to worry about the minor league tests. Doesn’t prove anything, but to me the culture seemed entirely normal and completely figured out for a ball player.

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        • larry bowa says:

          If you are buying 1/8s, you are wasting a lot of money. Never, ever buy less than an ounce at a time.

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    • Chris says:

      Also, I believe that players on minor league contracts can get tested/suspended for marijuana. Players on major league contracts cannot.

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  3. Matty Brown says:

    I saw on MLB Trade Rumors that he had signed and then the next post was that he was promoted, so I thought that was interesting. Glad to see you write about it already.

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  4. cavebird says:

    Is it just being reported that the deal includes the call up because he is being called up when he signs it or does the contract actually include a clause that he is brought up to the majors upon signing it?

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  5. Cool Lester Smooth says:

    Actually, now that he’s in the major leagues, there is no consequence for failing a drug test, because MLB players are not tested, much less suspended for, drugs of abuse.

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    • mario mendoza says:

      Bingo.

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    • nivalis says:

      Apparently that kicked in as soon as he was added to the 40 man, just before last year’s Rule 5 draft. Even at the time of the suspension, there was discussion about whether or not they Astros could add him to the 40 man immediately and try to avoid the suspension.

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    • Casor_Greener says:

      Actually you are suspended for some drugs of abuse, just not marijuana

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    • blackoutrestrictions says:

      This was my thought too. The fact that he could not be suspended for smoking weed must have been a huge part of this on both sides. I’m sure it will factor in with Rosario and the Twins too. With this in mind, I disagree with the last few paragraphs about how he’s got a new incentive not to smoke. It seems like he has more of an incentive to smoke now, as he will be able to do so without being labeled an addict. There’s a lot of people that smoke on a regular basis and don’t consider themselves an addict because they aren’t being told by their employer that they are addicts.

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    • J says:

      Still illegal most places.

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    • LG says:

      Assuming any potential performance loss isn’t a consequence, sure.

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  6. Capt Geech & The Shrimp Shack Shooters says:

    “MAN, YOU IN HERE…. FOR SOME MARIJUANA!?!?!”

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  7. LONNIE says:

    If I were a top prospect then I would not be looking to take a deal like this. The risk/reward factor is not high enuff for me to risk losing out on all that money to accept such a low-ball offer. This deal benefits the team only.

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    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

      Jon Singleton is getting 10 million dollars over the next five years. The jump in utility from $200,000 to $10M is far, far greater than that between $35M and $65M. This is a no-brainer.

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      • JKB says:

        You can say that again

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      • David says:

        And here’s the thing… if Singleton is a good big leaguer, he’s just locked up $35M AND he’ll be on the market before his age 30 season. It’s certainly not like $35M in total earnings is the max he’s in a position to get now…

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    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

      Jon Singleton is getting 10 million dollars over the next five years. The jump in utility from $200,000 to $10M is far, far greater than that between $35M and $65M. This is a no-brainer.

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      • Peter Schoenke says:

        Exactly my point on the first post .. which you more eloquently stated.

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      • Kris says:

        On the margin, it is. It’s not like his marginal utility for each additional $5mm is negative once he reaches $35mm

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        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          Yeah, by “jump” I meant “delta,” but I didn’t want to come off as too much of a douche.

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    • jB4s7 says:

      Much easier to say this when you don’t have $10 million in front of you. All it takes is one freak injury for a guy in his financial position to be working a regular office job in a year.

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  8. Tim A says:

    Can we please stop calling people that smoke weed “DRUG ADDICTS” its a bit stupid and far from the truth. It also is insulting to both weed smokers, and real drug addicts. To quote Bob Sagat, You ever sucked d*** for weed man. It is absolutely stupid and out of touch to me that MLB suspends people that piss dirty for weed for the same length as steroids. Also there seems to be a double standard with testing, I can’t remember the last big leaguer that was suspended for herb, and I know like 85% of the Bobby V Mets, including him, were rooting down. It seems like they only go after non MLBPA minor leaguers for this, and ignore it in the majors.

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    • G-foz says:

      The ol’ “you can’t be addicted to weed” argument. This is not supported at all by the science or by the personal experiences of people who suffer through it.

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      • Tim A says:

        First off the science says that it is habit forming not addictive. You don’t have withdrawal issues with marijuana. Second it is stigmatizing, and wrong to classify people who like to smoke some weed together with tweakers that will steal from there mother to get some rock. Thirdly it is hypocritical to impose something on minor leaguers that is not similarly enforced in the majors, baseball would be better, and fairer to the players if minor leaguers were afforded the same representation as there major league counter part. Being young, and not yet in the majors shouldn’t make you a second class citizen.

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      • Sosa says:

        True, some people are also addicted to sucking dirty diapers and eating couch pillows. More mainstream addictions include to classics such as sex and food.

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    • JP says:

      Dude, chill. smoke a blunt or something.

      He called himself a drug addict. Marijuana can be psychologically addicting.

      And major leaguers are not tested for drugs of abuse unless there is a history. Since minor leaguers are not subject to the collective bargaining rules, baseball can force tests on them.

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      • nd says:

        The fact that he immediately turned to alcohol indicates that he was using marijuana in an abusive way, and he admitted so himself.

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    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

      They don’t test big leaguers for drugs of abuse, because collective bargaining.

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    • Kevin says:

      Think of it this way. Are all people who consume alcohol alcoholics? Nope. But are you willing to say being addicted to alcohol isn’t a thing?
      Likewise, are all marijuana smokers addicted to pot? Nope. But some are. Singleton himself admits as much. There is no shaming or third party labeling.

      There are certainly outrageous and silly stigmas against marijuana use all over the place. Claiming against the science that absolutely no one can ever become addicted to pot isn’t helping the case for pot.

      -A proud Coloradan

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    • A very small number of people can, in fact, become addicted to marijuana. It’s much less common than with cocaine, heroin, meth, etc., but it is a real thing that really happens.

      You can read a great fictional portrayal of a marijuana addict in David Foster Wallace’s novel/weightlifting tool Infinite Jest.

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      • Boris Chinchilla says:

        Y’all are klling my buzz. Is he addicted because he likes it?

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      • Catoblepas says:

        oh god immediate infinite jest +1s

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      • illinibob says:

        The most recent study I have seen, says approximately 9-10% of regular pot users become addicted. It’s a real thing. If you smoke daily and turn to alcohol to handle pot withdrawal, you are probable in the 10%

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    • LG says:

      You smell like a whatever the politically correct word you’d like to use for “marijuana addict” would be.

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  9. Evan Longoria says:

    How soon they forget….

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  10. Sae says:

    Weed brought me here

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  11. Governator says:

    never mind the fact that one cannot be addicted to marijuana…

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    • G-foz says:

      I understand this is a prevalent idea but it’s ridiculous.

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      • Cool Lester Smooth says:

        It straight up is not physically addictive. You don’t go through withdrawal if you stop using it. You just feel better and less foggy when you wake up.

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        • G-foz says:

          There are all kinds of physiological withdrawal symptoms for chronic smokers when they quit. When chronic smokers quit they do not not feel “less foggy” — sometimes they feel more foggy for a while until they go through a period of time away. Very often they feel depressed, very anxious, and a host of other emotional symptoms. By the way, emotions are not some kind of spiritual entity — the brain is physical and the neurochemicals in it are physical. So if your brain is not producing dopamine like it should (because getting high all those times has depleted them), then this is a very physical symptom. I could go on and on. It is not uncommon to get flu like symptoms.

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        • G-foz says:

          Just want to mention that I’m not saying it should be illegal or even against the rules of baseball.

          Another big withdrawal symptom is insomnia.

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        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          Yeah, it does fuck with your brain chemistry a bit, and I’ve met enough people who have smoked themselves stupid to broach any disagreement on that mater.

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        • pitnick says:

          Addiction is addiction.

          The DSM and other parties keep confusing the wording on this, but the bottom line is that some drugs can cause physical dependence, and depending on the drug, this can be a minor nuisance or a life-threatening problem. Addiction is a separate, and more severe, concept. If the two terms were equivalent, no smoker would ever relapse after a couple of days, people wouldn’t need to spend decades going to AA meetings, and so-called “behavioral addictions” wouldn’t exist.

          There’s still a lot of debate about terms and underlying theories, but I don’t know of any addict, friend of an addict, relative of an addict, or (especially) addiction medicine specialist who thinks of physiological dependence as being the main problem.

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        • zach says:

          The brain as you define it can be understood as physical…in the very least, having physical apsects. Whether all of these can be reduced strictly to chemical pathways is another matter, to say nothing of the feeling of the thing.

          “By the way, emotions are not some kind of spiritual entity — the brain is physical and the neurochemicals in it are physical.” There is so much more going on than that my friend. Descartes is dead.

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        • For a very small number of users, marijuana is physically addictive. It has to do with individuals’ chemistry. Marijuana-dependent persons exist; there just are not very many.

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        • HydrogenH1 says:

          And some folks have asthma and other respiratory items. Risk factors do shift the relative harm in pot.

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    • G-foz says:

      You are stating this as if it’s so obvious to you when in fact it’s completely unsupported. Many people suffer from mj addiction. You can go to meetings and meet those people. Apparently Jon Singleton thinks he is one of those people, and having read his candid interview I saw no reason to doubt it.

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      • zach says:

        I don’t disagree per say with your main point on whether or not mj is/can be addictive. But the fact that one can attend meetings and meet other people who also believe this does not make it an absolute truth any more than one can also go to meetings and meet people who believe that the apocolypse is imminantly upon us, and Jesus can’t hit a curve ball.

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      • Sosa says:

        Yeah I don’t even disagree with your overall point, but your supporting logic is similar to saying organized church and religion proves the existence of God. Perhaps these people all have unrelated issues and think marijuana is the source of their issues.

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    • JH says:

      This is only true if you think that physical dependence is the only form of addiction. That would be an extreme outlier opinion not supported by any medical literature (and one that basically rejects the notion that mental illness is a real thing). Marijuana doesn’t cause extreme withdrawal symptoms when chronic use is stopped, so it’s not physically addictive the way heroine, cocaine, or alcohol are. But that’s not what addictive means. Any substance or stimulus that stimulates the brain’s reward centers and creates severe dependency can be called addictive.

      I’m extremely pro legalization (and voted for it when it came on the California ballot in 2008), but marijuana advocates have a tendency to overstate their case. Decades of disproportionate punishment for use of a relatively harmless substance makes it really tempting to take true facts (i.e., no conclusive evidence that death by overdose is possible) and run too far with them (i.e., “see? weed is harmless!”). That is an impulse that should be kept in check. Psychological dependency is very real, and potentially very debilitating. I’m guessing you wouldn’t challenge the notion of gambling addiction just because someone trying to quit cold turkey doesn’t experience potentially fatal physical symptoms. Marijuana is one of a number of different things that can cause dependency. It’s not as severe an addiction as others, and curing it may be easier, but it’s addictive nonetheless.

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      • SucramRenrut says:

        There is also the argument that there is no difference between a physical or psychological addiction because your brain controls your body. For example, if you know that not doing X will cause your heart to stop, it is similar to saying not doing X will affect your brain in such a way that will lead to your heart stopping.

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  12. nivalis says:

    Drug addiction? Need I quote Bob Saget from Halfbaked?

    More to the point, MLB doesn’t test for marijuana (or any other “drugs of abuse”) without a specific cause to do so.

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  13. mario mendoza says:

    No ever sucked… for alcohol either, but alcoholism is VERY real.

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    • mario mendoza says:

      No one^

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    • Bengie Stacks says:

      Thank you for pointing this out. Just because something isn’t deemed as physically addictive doesn’t meansomeone can’t become dependant. I smoke quite a bit, to the point where I can’t just call it casual, and I would have a difficult time quitting.

      That being said, it’s still something that is quite mild in the bigger picture. If he’s putting in the effort and smoking alleviates the anxiety he deals with, what’s the harm? The kid raked in the minors before his suspension. If the preparation is there, the marijuana will never be an issue even if he gets back into it.

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      • Cool Lester Smooth says:

        Inhaling burning leaves is not good for your cardiovascular fitness.

        Vaping is a different matter, but I’d still be leery if I was the team.

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        • Bengie Stacks says:

          No inhaling smoke, long term, is not good for your lungs. But a professional athlete, with access to world class training and facilities, is not going to see the affects of that during his career.

          I would understand the skepticism from a teams standpoint, but if we’re talking downside we can’t ignore the benefits either. Obviously I don’t know the kid, but it would seem he has some anxious tendencies. If controlled use can alleviate that at all then I don’t see a ton of harm in his desire to smoke.

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        • Kirby Puckett says:

          It’ll keep away glaucoma.

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    • Jack says:

      I don’t want to be “that guy,” but I bet you anything someone has sucked **** for alcohol before. Just saying. Probably for pot too. I mean, let’s be real. Prostitution is the world’s oldest profession.

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    • Bearman says:

      Haha alcholism. LEARN DISAPRIN!

      -south park

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  14. hobbes020 says:

    T-Minus until this completely moves away from this baseball move, into a drug legalization slapfest.

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  15. Umpire Weekend says:

    Good timing. He should get about 420 plate appearances.

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  16. Nick C says:

    You can be addicted, but it’s mental not physical. People die when they stop drinking, not the case with weed.

    Anyway good for him, one in the hand is worth two in the bush.

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  17. Bernandez says:

    “After all, his resources available to purchase marijuana just went way up.”

    A McDonald’s employee could purchase all the marijuana they need to be high 24/7. I really don’t think a bump in salary is going to impact anyone’s marijuana consumption. Unless Singleton was rolling baseball bat sized blunts.

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    • Wiz Khalifa says:

      Never doubt a mans drive or determination.

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      • odbsol says:

        Except to show up on time for your interviews on the Howard Stern show apparently?

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    • larry bowa says:

      Being high 24/7 would require a decent amount more than what a McDonalds employee makes, unless they choose not to pay any bills. Being high 24/7 implies at least an ounce every week, and not many McDonalds employees can afford to spend $500-1000 on drugs every month.

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      • Bernandez says:

        The fact remains that they could, if that’s where they chose to direct their income. If $500-1000/month is all it takes to be high 24/7, I don’t see a raise impacting Singleton’s purchasing. Unless he has a giant walk-in marijuana humidor or something, which actually sounds pretty awesome. Maybe his BP bat is actually a pipe? A smoking utensil of such proportion could definitely increase consumption.

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    • Crack Addict says what? says:

      “A McDonald’s employee could purchase all the marijuana they need to be high 24/7.”

      The CEO, perhaps.
      $7/hour would get you $280 / week.
      Enough for an ounce, which is not going to last more a couple days 24/7.

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      • Bernandez says:

        What kind of weed are you smoking? Might want to make sure there’s actually some THC in there. An ounce is quite a bit.

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        • larry bowa says:

          An ounce won’t last more than a week if you are high all the time. It’s called having a tolerance, which anyone would quickly develop if they are smoking that regularly. I used to get awesome fucking shit, wouldn’t smoke over the weekend (would spend that with my exgf) and an ounce would last me at most a week and a half. Granted this was after college where my tolerance was ridiculous. But if someone is trying to be high all the time, their tolerance will rather quickly get to that point.

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  18. mario mendoza says:

    I think Dave got a little side-tracked from the contract by the drugs.

    A big down-side for the team is motivation. The kid likes to party. The kid ALSO likes to eat. Dave says he might lose money for a drug suspension, but since his drug of choice is not a PED, probably not. Instead, there are no incentives for good performance/fitness anymore. Heck, if he has a bad attitude and feels underpaid, he might not want those options picked up anyway.

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    • SucramRenrut says:

      So what you’re saying is that they just signed the next Miguel Cabrera on the cheap?

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    • El Duderino says:

      Well, if he stops smoking, his appetite should go down, so that’s a win-win

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  19. John says:

    With that money he can buy a whole lot of clean urine.

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  20. ThingsMoreAddictivethanPot says:

    Coffee, alcohol, the Internet, multiple classifications of pharmaceuticals including most analgesics and many antidepressants, video games, email, the interface on a smart phone …

    This list could go on almost endlessly.

    Singleton likes to smoke pot. In a non-ignorant world, where opinions about marijuana weren’t poisoned by politics and racism, we wouldn’t know about this anymore than we know about Evan Longoria’s Red Bull addiction (or whatever.)

    A person can ruin their life doing almost anything. If we’re going to pretend Singleton is a marijuana addict because he has been coached to say as much, we may as well call Prince Fielder a food addict, we may as well call the writers of FanGraphs baseball addicts, we may as well call many of the readers of FanGraphs internet addicts, ad infinitum.

    Shakespeare was wrong. The words we use, their associations and connotations, matter. Maybe a rose would smell as sweet, but if it were called Rashwort, I doubt as many people would stick their nose into its bloom.

    People like drugs. People like routine. Of all the dangerous and debilitating drugs Singleton could be using, and of all the life-sapping routines he could be engaged in, marijuana is not dangerous, is hardly debilitating, and probably won’t disrupt his life half as badly as a really mean “addiction” to World of Warcraft.

    P.S. I love craft beer. I enjoy marijuana. In every meaningful way, beer is more debilitating, harder on my body, and more likely to be abused.

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    • Pat Burrell says:

      I spent lots of time in the majors, and I’m a love addict.

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      • ThingsMoreAddictivethanPot says:

        Yes, whenever has the DSM made a mistake.

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        • ThingsMoreAddictivethanPot says:

          “Next we consider the science of Psychology. Incidentally, psychoanalysis is not a science: it is at best a medical process, and perhaps even more like witch-doctoring.”

          Richard Feynman, Six Easy Pieces

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        • an MD says:

          surely Mr Feyman, you must be joking. where was his MD granted btw?

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    • Kevin says:

      Is things X is more addictive than thing Y, how do you conclude that thing Y is not at all addictive.

      I’m all for legalization. I think there are tons of uncalled for stigmas against marijuana.

      But you don’t help the cause by spouting lies. Because (dumb) people will think “if he’s lying about one thing, he must be lying about the other stuff, too”.

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      • ThingsMoreAddictivethanPot says:

        Um?

        Marijuana is not physically addictive. Unlike, say, caffeine which is intensely physically addictive. That’s why they’ll be putting it into chips soon.

        I am not sure what lie I “spouted.”

        A person can become dependent on almost anything, including, say, Beanie Babies. But a person can not become physically addicted to BB’s or pot–no lie.

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        • munchtime says:

          If you don’t think a substance that alters brain chemistry holds the potential for addiction….

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        • CAPN Obvious says:

          Are you saying Jesus Christ can’t hit a curve ball? Oh wait… Sorry…. need another toke.

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  21. fip_drip says:

    does anyone answer the Q/A section or delete spam in there?

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  22. Switters says:

    Full no trade, except Colorado.

    https://www.colorado.gov/marijuanainfodenver/

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  23. Brad says:

    I think it is refreshing how candid he is about his addiction and how he readily admits he is an addict and has to fight it. That tells me he has matured and can handle the millions he gets now so Astros made a smart move. And, maybe Singleto figures getting the $ now will reduce his stress and make him less susceptible to relapsing. Maybe going year to year trying to earn huge payday will be too much stress for him. It’s a win-win for both sides.

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  24. Brad says:

    Dave: How did you bang out that column so quickly? You just found out in your chat that signing went down. Impressive you are.

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  25. tz says:

    I’m addicted to posting here. Can’t throw any stones.

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  26. jp says:

    Dave, the guy was using marijuana, not faberge eggs. Geez.

    Even if he were really using a lot per day, we’re still talking just thousands of dollars in expenses, less than a car. I’ve never seen young players’ housing, automotive, or other discretionary expenses in assessing contracts.

    Very bizarre to make such pointed reference to his marijuana use as if it were a major factor in assessing the contract.

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  27. gereikat says:

    I hate the hypocrisy of sports.

    Beer ads all over the stadium and TV broadcast. But a guy smokes pot and it’s some huge news story.

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    • Andrew says:

      That definitely isn’t just a sports thing.

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    • ThingsMoreAddictivethanPot says:

      Here’s something I wonder and want to ask (before I show myself out):

      FanGraphs, most basically, is a site dedicated to truth. Truth about baseball, but truth. Whose velocity is up, who is swinging at too many pitches out of the zone, what makes a good contract for team v. player, etc.

      I know that politically many of the writers on this site lean conservative. But I imagine that’s somewhat incidental. People’s political ideals are based on many things, family, geography, upbringing and maybe even genetics, but rarely facts. Were they, the two party system would lose most of its traction, as people would explore a world in which there are MORE than two sides to any debate.

      Dave Cameron, someone whose hand I have shaken, someone I respect as a baseball analyst, would never let such dodgy, false ideas, the very worst kind of received wisdom, corrupt his analysis of a player.

      Why do we reserve reason and a reliance on facts to analysis of baseball, but when a subject becomes political, we revert to dogma, stereotyping and polarity? Could it be, in the supposed greatest democracy on Earth, that we are more intellectual and rational about our pastimes than we are our political process?

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      • Paul says:

        “”People’s political ideals are based on many things, family, geography, upbringing and maybe even genetics, but rarely facts. Were they, the two party system would lose most of its traction, as people would explore a world in which there are MORE than two sides to any debate.”

        You clearly don’t know very much about the United States political system.

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    • David says:

      Not understanding/pretending not to understand why MLB would have different postures toward a legal substance and an illegal substance is a sign either of severe mental impairment or just disingenuous.

      Want to argue how weird it is that they’re treated inconsistently by the laws? Go right ahead. I’m with you there. But willfully ignoring why an employer would treat them differently under current laws is just absurd.

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  28. emdash says:

    Houston seemingly using call-ups as a reward for agreeing to a team-friendly extension is a fairly disturbing precedent that the union should be investigating.

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    • Lazer_Town says:

      He was going to get called up this year regardless, it just got him a few weeks to prevent the super 2. They are not breaking the rules, they are just operating most efficiently within the rules like every other team should be doing. I don’t think there is anything that should be done. It’s not like they are keeping him in AAA for years.

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      • emdash says:

        Efficiency can’t be the only metric considered – whether the team’s decisions are ethical or fair matter too, I’d imagine especially to the union tasked with protecting the players’ interests.

        And maybe they’d bring him up eventually this year anyway – what if they didn’t? Would that be fair game maximizing efficiency within the rules?

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        • nivalis says:

          The Union doesn’t much care about minor leaguers. :/

          But if you’re suggesting that MLB teams will start holding MLB-ready talent down on the farm indefinitely, simply because those prospects won’t sign team-friendly extensions…

          Wouldn’t that be self-correcting pretty quickly once the GM gets fired for total incompetence?

          Besides, when Springer rejected the extension they offered him, they held him down for about two extra weeks.

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    • TangoAlphaLima says:

      Keeping good players in the minors to avoid losing an extra year of control or to avoid Super Two status is also disturbing. Blame the rules, not the Astros.

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      • emdash says:

        Well, I do, but this is a pretty severe extra step – it’s closer to coercion than the other examples.

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        • TangoAlphaLima says:

          Nah, it’s actually better. Gives the player an option. Otherwise he knows the team is going to keep him in the minors until a fictional deadline has passed. No one is putting a gun to his head.

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        • J says:

          Minor leaguers aren’t part of the union.

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  29. Lazer_Town says:

    “Risking $7 or $8 million for a chance to save upwards of $30 million — let’s assume a high-quality slugging 1B would have earned ~$40 million in future arbitration earnings and another ~$25 million for his first free agent year — is a total no-brainer for a team like the Astros”

    I think this is a big optimistic though. If he was top 10 I would agree, but he came in the season at 82nd best prospect by BA. Just look through the players that fall 70-100 in the year before they are called up, and it’s simply unimpressive. (Trying to ignore the ones like Trout at 85 back in 2010, which was after he impressed in A ball) Andrelton and Kimbrel are about the only impressive ones in recent years, and they aren’t getting anywhere the $25MM figure. Let alone all the busts around him. If he is good enough to get that figure, he will still get $100MM, and he will never have to worry about money. If he busts like most of those in that range, then he got a pretty nice payday upfront.

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    • TangoAlphaLima says:

      Singleton also had an abysmal season in 2013. I’m quite sure BA would have rated him higher than the 82nd overall prospect coming into the season if they’d known how well he would perform at AAA in 2014.

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  30. Sign and Drive says:

    Has anyone looked at how this compares, apples-to-apples, to what the Pirates supposedly offered Gregory Polanco in ST (which would have made THAT deal the first of this kind)?

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    • TangoAlphaLima says:

      I don’t recall what Polanco was offered, but George Springer could have been the first to take this type of deal when he was offered $23 million over 7 years by the Astros last fall. This Singleton deal is for one more year, but those last three years are team options, so they’re not favorable to Singleton if he underperforms and they are not picked up.

      But at $35 million, it’s quite a bit more money. Plus it was clear that the Astros were going to keep Singleton down to avoid Super Two status, thereby postponing arbitration by another year, whereas they didn’t do that with Springer. So that probably gave Singleton more incentive to take this type of deal than Springer, who may have assumed the Astros wouldn’t/couldn’t keep him down until the 2014 Super Two deadline, thereby making his potential earnings while under team control greater.

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    • nivalis says:

      The Astros guaranteed money only goes through 1 year of arb; Pirates guaranteed money seems to have gone through 1 year of free agency.

      Looks like the Pirates offered Polanco 7/25 guaranteed, so Polanco + club option is probably pretty close to 35 million/8 years, or what Singleton gets with all the options picked up: 35 million/8 years.

      So if each matched expectations, they might get paid the same, but Polanco is stuck in a team friendly deal for two extra years. I can see that being the difference maker.

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  31. jdbolick says:

    Lost in all the drug talk is Jonathan Singleton being a pretty high risk prospect on the field. His contact rate isn’t as bad as Springer’s was, but he’s still below average in that respect without adding value defensively and as a base runner. His HR/OFB% so far this season is far, far beyond anything he has ever done before. If that’s real then maybe the Astros got a deal, but I’d still take the odds on Singleton being a wash-out who won’t be starting by the end of this contract.

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    • David says:

      He might indeed be a complete washout. At only $2M/year guaranteed, this contract is totally worth that gamble. It’s not like this is the absurd contract the Padres threw at Gyorko earlier this year.

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    • JG says:

      Thank you for mentioning this. This kid hit .220 with 30% K rate and no power in almost 300 PAs in AAA last year. He has hit in every other stop so far, and is hitting this year, but he’s never dominated, and as a bat only guy (reports on his glove have been less and less sanguine as he’s moved along), this kid has some very serious risk, outside his personal issues. I like the move for the Astros (love it for Singleton), but it’s not a slam dunk.

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  32. Hurtlocker says:

    You can buy a boatload, literally, of weed with $35 million.

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  33. jeca11 says:

    This is bad news bears but I doubt the players’ association is going to realize what this really means until it is probably too late. Teams are now basically strong arming players to accept contracts that restrict free agency with the carrot of major league jobs. Given that players are drafted and can only play for the clubs that draft them they are really powerless to fight this unless they are so good and so confident that they just shrug and say do you.

    This is just the next logical step following draft bonus slotting and the manipulation of service time. Now teams keep you in the minors and dangle a pro-contract or more time on the Triple-A bus until you give in. You can focus on the 10 million but they just took many millions more from him in the future.

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    • Simon says:

      It’s a couple of months more playing in the minors. It’s not like they’re going to keep players in the minors past the super-2 deadline if they are otherwise ready. And the fault is really with the CBA for having stupid things like super-2 in it. If you have rules like that, teams will do what they can to get the maximum possible benefit for themselves.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      What if Singleton becomes one of the many prospects that never pans out?

      Think Mike Moustakas would like to have a 10M guarantee?

      The Astros just gave an 8th round pick a 10M contract with team options that could push it up to 35M.

      How many millions did the Astros just take from Singleton? You said it, I’m asking for the quantity.

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  34. Michael says:

    His personal issues are legitimate, and lead to the discount on his services that the Astros got. That being said, if this strategy of withholding service time and then keeping someone in the minors beyond what is reasonable to get them to sign a below market extension is going to become the new norm for players without issues, that could cause some interesting unintended consequences later on. Houston can afford to bury someone in the minors because they aren’t nearing contender status. Would that make a future draftee who is selected by a non-contending team more likely to skip the season and reenter the following year? And how will it impact future CBA negotiations?

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      This is really interesting to me. I really wonder how it will play out.

      It’ll be interesting to see if more and more young, talented players make it to MLB earlier in their careers with contracts like these and how that affects veteran players. Only then will MLBPA start really looking at it.

      I’m also curious as to who will have the eventual “lead” in terms of surplus value or money: Teams or Players. Will these contracts tend to be under-performed or over-performed.

      The tendency right now is to look at it like the teams are pillaging the players. But, you only have to go back through and look at past “top 20 prospects” or “rated rookie” or “future star” baseball cards to see that lots and lots of promising prospects simply don;t pan out to be great, or even just good.

      I’m kind of out of the loop, but even guys like Cameron Maybin, Carlos Santana, are examples of how quickly promise can go downhill … and these were guys with some solid MLB performances.

      We cannot assume that all prospects are going to make it to their potential or close to it.

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  35. Satoshi Nakamoto says:

    Smoking weed will help his muscle recovery, reduce inflammation, reduce anxiety, etc.

    The risk is that he gets high and then eats fast food and turns into a taller, fatter Panda.

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  36. Nick says:

    I guess the Astros are no longer deeply concerned about Singleton’s debilitating “marijuana addiction.”

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  37. Matt says:

    MLB Trade Rumors Extension Tracker has Matt Moore at 17 days of service time and Evan Longoria at 24 days. Looks like there were reports of Longoria’s on April 18, 2008, but perhaps it wasn’t “official” until a bit later.

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  38. Johnston says:

    http://m.psychologytoday.com/blog/almost-addicted/201311/is-marijuana-addictive

    “But just like with alcohol, some who use marijuana do so in a compulsive way that places major portions of their life in jeopardy and produces real, significant negative consequences in their lives, be in strained family relationships, compromised job performance or something else. For those individuals marijuana is unquestionably addictive.”

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      Compulsive behavior and chemical addiction are two different things.

      If “compulsive” or “habit-forming” are becoming the new definition for addiction, than everything has the capability of literally, being addictive.

      One could become “addicted” to prayer, masturbation, etc.

      I thought addictive meant that your body develops a chemical dependence or reliance on the substance, where ending the usage brings out negative physical symptoms and intense chemical cravings.

      In this sense we can’t let the common, incorrect use of the word “addictive” be like the similar common and incorrect use of the word “theory”, as people use theory to really mean “half-assed opinion”. I’m guessing addictive and theory in professional communities mean vastly different things than their common usage.

      One could say that compulsive and habit-forming look a lot like addiction, but not fit the complete definition.

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  39. Satoshi Nakamoto says:

    So how do you think Jon Singleton celebrated after signing a multi million dollar contract?

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  40. SingletonSimpleton says:

    Any other insights or thoughts on the role and future negotiation action of the baseball players union, other than minor league players not being members until they promote? This seems like a red flag for the players union if there ever was one.

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